I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghost!

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I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghost!

Sofia Gilmore-Montero and Cassandra Jaskiewicz, News Editor; Instagram Manager

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The Killers and Thrillers [East] Tour of New Orleans, or as the Ghost City tour group affectionately calls it “The Bad Bitches of New Orleans,” lives up to its name, providing numerous stories about the most gruesome and notorious citizens of New Orleans.

Ghost City Tours was founded in Savannah, Georgia in 2012 by Tim Nealon. In 2014, Nealon moved the company to New Orleans, and since then, it has expanded to other cities in the country including San Antonio, Charleston, South Carolina and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Despite not being a company “born and bred” in NOLA, they get about 150,000 tourists per year and are number ten on USA Today’s “Best Places for Ghost Busting in New Orleans, America’s Most Haunted City.”

Locations include the Lalaurie Mansion, most notably featured in “American Horror Story,” which housed the woman who tortured and abused her slaves. The Andrew Jackson Hotel is haunted by numerous children from when it was a school house. The house of Marie Laveau, a famous Voodoo priestess and friend of the community, is a location on this tour. Each spot is filled with historical facts, chilling truths and, most importantly, a plethora of New Orleans culture.

After the many stops and stories, there was a convenient break at Tropical Isle on Bourbon Street, another location with connections to the supernatural and paranormal. Chicken Man, a famous Voodoo priest in the area during the ‘80s and ‘90s, gave his blessing to the business. It subsequently took off, and Chicken Man continued to bless many future Tropical Isle locations until his death.

Randy Reid, a tour guide for Ghost City Tours, has a vast library of great stories, humorous anecdotes and great tips for a night in the Quarter. One of Reid’s favorite stories is the tale of the New Orleans Axeman. In the early 20th century, there was a slew of murders and break-ins, all attributed to one man: the Axeman. This is a man who would whack you with your own axe in the comfort of your own home. Some survived, but many did not.  

The Axeman would eventually send a letter, in which he compared himself to the Angel of Death, saying that at 12:15 that coming Tuesday, he would stalk the streets of New Orleans. So if anyone wanted to avoid being murdered, he requested that they play jazz music, because he was very fond of it. As one can imagine, jazz music was heard all over New Orleans that night, with bars bustling and many homes hiring jazz bands to avoid any trouble.

“You just can’t make that [stuff] up!” Reid exclaimed.

Tour guides joke that it wasn’t the Axeman who wrote the note saying to play jazz to avoid murder, but an out-of-work street jazz band who was clever enough to use a guise to find a gig or two!  

It’s just one episode in the long history of a very haunted history. All in all, “The Bad Bitches of New Orleans” tour was a great crash course on the haunted culture of New Orleans, while providing a memorable time for its guests.

For more information, visit https://ghostcitytours.com/new-orleans/ghost-tours/.

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